SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team fell on Tuesday night in its first Capital Athletic Conference action, 3-2, to No. 9 Christopher Newport University at Maggs Physical Activities Center. The teams traded sets with the Captains winning the first and third 26-24 in each and the Sea Gulls taking the second and fourth 25-23 in each, before CNU took the fifth 15-7.
The Sea Gulls held Christopher Newport below its season hitting percentage of .294, good for third in the country, in the match to .280, including only .194 in the fourth set.
Sophomore Katie Stouffer came out strong, registering two kills and two service aces in Salisbury's first seven points, allowing the Sea Gulls to take a 7-3 lead in the first set.
CNU cut the lead to 8-6, but a kill from sophomore Shannon Russell sparked a 10-5 run that built a 19-11 lead. Stouffer tallied three more kills in the stretch.
From there, the Captains went on a 9-1 tear to tie the score 20-20 and eventually take a 23-20 lead with two more kills and an assisted block.
Another Russell kill sparked a 4-1 Salisbury spurt, putting the score at 24-24, but two-straight CNU points ended the set.
Capitalizing on three Captain errors to start the second set, senior Julie Poston hit a kill to give the Gulls a 4-1 early lead.
Christopher Newport tied the score 4-4, and the teams battled back and forth through the game. Tied 7-7, senior Nikki Binetti notched a kill and combined with freshman Rachel Pierson for a block, beginning a 7-5 run for a two-point lead.
The lead never grew to more than two, and the Captains captured the lead late, 22-20, but two errors, followed by a service ace from senior Michelle Meehan and two kills from Poston allowed Salisbury to tie the match.
A Meehan kill began the third set, but the game would stay true to the match, as the teams continued to fight and the lead never reached more than three for either side.
Salisbury held a late 24-23 lead, but CNU came back with two kills on either end of an SU error to take the set and a 2-1 match advantage.
The Sea Gulls again took the early advantage in the fourth set on a Binetti kill and took the lead for most of the set after a kill from Poston put SU up 3-2. A service ace by Stouffer and an assisted block from Poston and freshman Samantha Chubb pushed the lead to 5-2, capping the early run that set the Sea Gulls on track.
Stouffer notched eight kills in the game to lead Salisbury, as she totaled a match-high 24 on the night.
Two of her kills put Salisbury ahead 22-18 in the late moments, but the Captains made a push to tie the set 23-23. However, a kill from Poston and a block from Chubb and Russell forced the fifth set.
Christopher Newport took a 2-0 lead, but two-straight Stouffer kills tied the final game. From there, CNU rode a 13-5 stretch to gain the victory.
Poston finished the match second on the team with 13 kills, while Pierson set a career-high 46 assists. Meehan and Russell led the defense with 12 and 14 digs, respectively.
The night also marked the volleyball program's Pink Game, as the team raised money for cancer awareness, besting its goal of $500 with the event.
Salisbury now looks forward to another conference match, hosting St. Mary's College of Maryland on Wednesday, October 8 at Maggs PAC; the match is set for 7 p.m.